The International Financial System and the Global Power Shift - Five Years after Lehman Brothers

International conference, Brussels, 13-15 November 2013

Organizers: Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, Germany (Brussels Office) in cooperation with Attac France, Finance Watch (Brussels), WEED (Berlin)

The rise of emerging markets in the Global South and especially of China has raised fundamental questions about the future of the economic and political world system. It was in this changing geo-political context, that the crash of Lehman Brothers oc-curred, triggered the worst economic crisis since World War II. Today, there are in-creasing doubts, whether the “old West” will be able to preserve its dominance over the world system in the future. Given the importance of the finance sector in times of a “financialised capitalism” there is an urgent need to understand the linkages between finance, its crisis and the shifts in the global power structures.

In spite of great expectations after the crash, financial reforms both in Europe and the US have not gone very far. Moreover, in the Euro-zone the financial crisis has triggered a sovereign debt crisis, which, however, has deep going, structural roots independently from the financial crisis, such as the heterogeneity of the EU in general, the misconstruction of the currency union and the economic imbalances between its member states. As a result, Southern Europe is in a dramatic situation at tremendous human costs. The future of the EU is uncertain. An end to the crisis is not in sight.

The world is heading towards a multi-polar system, and it seems that the financial crisis and the Euro-crisis serve as a catalyst in this process.

The conference will look at the financial reform process, the crisis management and the further perspectives and their geo-political dimensions.

Conference report:

Finance, Crisis and the Global Power Shift. Financial Crisis, Reforms and their Impact on Geopolitics


Public Event, Evening 13th of November

17:00 registration for the conference
18:00 public debate:
A better financial system in the making?
Will the changes in the balance of power between the West and the Global South lead to a more just international financial system?
With: Patrick Bond, Jayati Ghosh, & Pedro Páez
20:00 dinner
First day, 14th of November

09:00 Opening, welcome: Klaus Sühl, head of office RLS Brussels
09:15 Keynote speech: Jayati Ghosh, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

1. Panel
10:00 Financial crisis as a catalyst towards a multi-polar world system – What happens to dollar hegemony?
Inputs: Patrick Bond, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Claude Serfati, Institute of Economic and Social Studies (IRES);
University Versailles-Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, France
11:00 Discussion
11:30 Coffee

2. Panel
11:45 Five Years After: Reforms and reform proposals in the USA – First-come first-serve, the
urge for regulatory competition?
Input: Robert Guttmann, Hofstra University, New York
Comment: Lisa Donner, Americans for Financial Reform, Washington
12:45 Discussion
13:15 Lunch break

3. Panel
14:15 Five Years After: The EU and financial reform - Much ado about nothing?
Input: Dominique Plihon, University Paris VIII
Comments : Daniela Gabor, University of West England &
Thierry Philipponnat, Secretary General of Finance Watch
15:15 Discussion
15:45 Coffee

4. Panel discussion
16:00 The Euro, the crisis and the perspectives of a new global monetary system
Panelists: Nildo Ouriques Federal University of Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, Brazil
David Santoni, National University of La Plata, Argentina
Cédric Durand, University Paris XIII
Andreas Botsch, ETUI, Head of the Economics Department, Brussels (tbc)
17:00 Discussion

17:30 End of First Day

20:00 Conference Dinner in the City Centre in Restaurant Jacques (Quai aux Briques 44, 1000 Brussels)

Second day, 15th of November

5. Panel
09:00 Financial tools and institutions as means for the global competition:
tax havens & free trade agreements, TTIP
Inputs: Pia Eberhardt, CEO, Brussels
Sol Picciotto, Tax Justice Network, London
10:00 Discussion
10:30 Coffee Break

6. Panel
11:00 Financial tools and institutions as means for the global competition: Capital Controls & Development Banks (Banco del Sur and BRICS development bank)
Inputs: Pedro Páez, Ex-Finance Minister and member of Stiglitz Commission
Erik S. Reinert, The Other Canon Foundation, Norway, Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia
12:00 Discussion

12:30 Lunch break

7. Panel
13:30 A New Currency Order against Dollar Hegemony as a necessary step towards a fair international financial order?
Input: C.P. Chandrasekhar, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
Comment: Sargon Nissan, Bretton Woods Project, London (SDR)
14:30 Discussion

15:00 Coffee break

8. Panel
15:30 Emancipatory Strategies out of the crises for a more balanced global financial order
Input: Gus Massiah, Paris, International Council World Social Forum
Comment: James Meadway, Counterfire and New Economic Foundation, UK
16:30 Discussion

17:00 Closing of the Conference & Farewell

Simultaneous translation in English and French.
The results of the conference will be published in a report